More than half of coronavirus regulation fines unpaid - will draconian laws be challenged in court?
MORE than half of people sent letters giving them 28 days to pay off fixed penalty notice (FPN) fines for breaching coronavirus regulations since the start of the lockdown in March have not paid them.
Figures released by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) today show that there have been 18,646 FPNs issued up to September 22 with 15,982 were sent on behalf of forces in England and 2,664 on behalf of forces in Wales.
Martin Hewitt, NPCC chairman, (above) said 9,428 of the people written to had paid up () but that there were 9,413 () who had ignored them or indicated they wanted to challenge the FPN in court.
Asked if he was concerned by this apparent high level of civil disobedience and that the courts, which are already facing a backlog of cases, could cope with the added burden, Mr Hewitt said: "Every individual has the right not to pay an FPN and to elect to go to court and some are already working through the system.
"The courts are slowly coming back to a greater degree of opening and it is a matter of record there is a backlog of jobs that need to go through the court and this will add to those. There is a way to prioritise but this is a challenge for the criminal justice system as it starts to reopen courts in a Covid safe way."
He added: “Coronavirus is something we have all had to rapidly adapt to, and officers have had to pick up new regulations in a record pace, and apply them across the population. The number of instances where enforcement action is necessary at all is a fraction of the total engagement we have had with the public. “Enforcement doesn’t and shouldn’t always equal police involvement. Individuals, businesses and a range of agencies all have a responsibility to ensure the virus is suppressed, and police will continue to play their part.”